Stories about news channels

Help, my husband is an addict!

I had always feared this to be the truth; I tried to tell myself I was over-reacting, that this was normal behaviour and nothing to be worried about. But now the proof is overwhelming, I can deny it no longer. I have tried to stop him many times, to stop him from his own destruction but it’s useless. Many nights I wake up and find my husband is not in bed. I follow the lights to the living room, and there he is, caught red-handed!  His eyes are bloodshot; he is tense, and irritated. Carefully, I go over, and tell him ...

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Nightcrawler: How far would you go to make the headlines?

Nightcrawler follows one man’s quest to claw his way up the career ladder, from a life of petty crime to the world of ‘nightcrawling’, a blood sport where stringers capture footage of graphic crime scenes, their motto – “if it bleeds, it leads” – to sell on to news channels. It is in this insalubrious world, bolstered by the media’s thirst for ratings, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) excels, scheming his way to success. Positioned from the start in an unorthodox situation with this anti-hero, it is precisely because we are seeing the story unfold from Bloom’s eyes that we can suspend ...

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An intolerant educational system made me indifferent to the death of non-Muslims

As the Twin Towers came crashing down in New York City on September 11, 2001 an eight-year-old boy remained unmoved some 7,000 miles away in Lahore as the horrifying images unfolded before him. The boy then, descended into a mode of celebration upon discovering that the towers were in ‘non-Pakistani’ territory and that a significant majority of the dead were non-Muslims.  This boy was no suicide bomber in the making. He was not the product of an extremist madrassa nor was he the son of a jihad veteran. In fact, this was a boy who was being educated at one of the finest institutions this ...

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Is Urdu just a servant’s language today?

Recently, a comment made on the language that is a part of our identity, Urdu, left me in utter shock. A friend of mine told me about an incident that took place with his sister, who’s an Urdu teacher for grade one and two in Lahore. A student, in one of her classes, was refusing to speak in Urdu during the period. When she asked him as to why he was being so difficult, his response was nothing less than shocking and disappointing. ‘My mom told me that Urdu is a servant’s language’ Please take a moment, sit back and let that ...

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Why have we made news entertainment in Pakistan?

There was a time when televisions in Pakistan received just one, state run channel. The only news that got through to the masses was one deemed ‘fit’ for the public by the state/government. Any and all events that could prove detrimental to the government’s popularity were not allowed on TV. This was a time when democracy was suffocated; ‘free and independent’ media did not exist. Ironically, it was in a dictator’s rule that media was ‘liberated’ and channel after channel emerged on our television screens. The fact that our electronic media comprises mostly of news channels is a consequence of decades old dearth ...

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Will PTV English survive?

With the much-talked about launch of the PTV English news channel, there is an interesting mix of feelings about it in the market. For most people like myself there is little doubt that the news channel will see the unfortunate end that Geo English, Dawn News and Express 24/7 have already faced. There no longer remains a complicated formula to predict the result. It is simple – in a free market there are only two ways to survive. You have to cater to demand and you have to be the best at what you do. Both ingredients are missing in the expansionary move ...

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‘Muni badnaam hui’ is never appropriate on a news channel

I hate watching news on TV, not just because the lead stories in Pakistan are too depressing, but also because their treatment is mainly frivolous. The argument that our electronic news media is young, is years old now. Even if we do buy that claim, sadly there is no sign of growing up. Despite having a body to regulate the workings of our media, the performance of our news channels has always been disappointing. The regulatory setup and channels are to be equally blamed for the low quality. However, a few simple changes here and there can, of course, help set a ...

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Karachi’s killing fields: Gunshots that don’t touch our hearts

I met Hafiz Muhammad Waqas a day after he nearly died of gunshot wounds, in a target killing attempt. The electricity was out, Hafiz’s brother led me to a quiet dark room where he lay bandaged on a bed, talking over a cell-phone, assuring a concerned friend on the other side that ‘things were ok’. A single glance at his family, their traumatised looks, told me that things were not ‘ok’.  This brings me to the question I want to ask today: Who do we care for? Our families, friends or friends of friends? Technically speaking, it has a lot to do with ...

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Yes, I don’t watch TV

The last time I took a five week break from writing my exams, Osama Bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad. The whole world oohed and aahed. Did anything that exciting happen this time around? Nope. Same old, same old. The chief justice’s son accepts bribes and we all get out our popcorn buckets for another showdown. Becky Anderson wins the prize for the most loathed CNN anchor in Pakistani CNN viewership history. And I won a bet with my Dadi (grandmother), who was convinced that Mubashir Lucman was the fountain of all TV holy wisdom until he finally, ...

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News that is music to the ears

Every time a major political or controversial story breaks, our news channels make it a point to flash it continuously, spiced up with songs. And that irritates me a lot. It sounds non-serious, to say the least. Numbers like ‘Dulhan hum le jaiengay’ (we will take the bride) for Sania-Shoaib wedding, ‘Ye dosti hum nahi choreingay’ (We will not abandon this friendship) on PPP, MQM coalition after fall-outs really push the boundaries of what ought to be acceptable. It is so insane at times you wonder if they really are talking about real events and happenings. It’s a trend to ...

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